The fate of the Sandwich Town post office has been decided by Canada Post and the corporation plans to shutter the doors of the mail institution on April 26.
“We put forward the potential [for closure] back in February to the community [and] looked at the area and if you take that post office out of the mix, there’s nine post offices within a seven kilometer radius,” said John Hamilton, a spokesperson for Canada Post. “The Sandwich post office has been struggling the last few years [and] loses money every day that it is open and with record mail volume declines and other financial challenges facing the corporation, we have to make some tough decisions.”
Hamilton explained that when closing a post office, Canada Post determines how serviced an area is and whether the corporation can afford to continue to operate a facility with a reduction in business.
During the community consultation period, Canada Post received comments from community members regarding the historical element of the building and Hamilton stated that after reviewing the submissions, “we don’t see that the decline in customer interest is going to reverse itself … the post office was a declining value to that community.”
“We certainly appreciate that the community is working with the city to try to revitalize itself, and we’re going to put the building up for sale and hopefully someone can come forward and offer something new and of value to the community.” said Hamilton.
Local MP Brian Masse was upset at the decision made by Canada Post and questioned the Minister responsible for Canada Post in Question Period today in the House of Commons in Ottawa.
“I suspect it’s not as big a loser as they say, but they’re closing frontline operations all over the [country] and they have been doing that for a while,” said Masse who explained that Canada Post has both refused to disclose financial information regarding the post office and was unwilling to “sit down with us and the city to look at what could be done with the location.”
“They were determined just to shut it down and that’s unfortunate because I think what they’re doing is damaging the brand [of Canada Post],” said Masse who met with representatives from Canada Post earlier this week to make the case that it would be both better for the community and Canada Post if the property could be acquired for a community project.
“If it turns into a blight or sits there empty, there will be continued animosity towards Canada Post and that’s not in their best interest … there seems to be a pattern in the past where sometimes they’ve found flexibility [and sold properties at a lower rate than market value], and that’s what I’ve asked for because if we can do something with the facility … we can make the best of a bad situation and turn it into something positive,” said Masse.
The post office is primarily used by students who attend the nearby University of Windsor and seniors who have been using the facility for years.
“I don’t know what to do now with all my mail,” said Mildred Tuite who first used the Sandwich post office almost seventy years ago, but has come to use it frequently for the past twenty-five years. “I have my pensions, life insurance, [legal letters], my will, everything comes through here … it’ll be really difficult, I don’t know where I’ll go now.”
Tuite doesn’t believe it justifiable to send postal service to London or to shut down post offices in Windsor and expects that the change will decrease service and increase taxes.
“Who’s going to pay for it? The taxpayers. Yes it will [increase taxes].” said Tuite.
Tuite enjoys the post office because the workers care about the community and “they do good here. With the people they’ve got, they do good. They’ve cut these people back and back all the time [and they’re] friendly … they put themselves out for you.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.